In 1934 a child of age seven listens to adults talking, "He's nothing but a horse thief". What does that mean? Fast forward to 2017. This child, my mother, is approaching 90 years of age. We had spoken many times over the years and yet I couldn't find anything on this story. I just came to conclusion it meant something like he was a bum, and forgot about it.
The "Horse Thief" was married to one of my great grandmother's sisters. But which one could it be, Ada or Cora? I knew the name of Cora's husband but had no idea who Ada had married. That is until a few months ago when I was contacted by a person who claimed to be related to this family. (Met another cousin)
I asked her about the rumor of a horse thief. She quickly replied, no rumor, it's true, and she forwarded the newspaper articles, prison records and obits.
Ada "Addie" Eldridge, (1859-1934) my great aunt, married John J. Milliman, (1856-1935) a farmer and horse trader. They were from New York.
Here is that story:
May 24, 1879, Nunda News, Nunda, Allegany, NY
A Gang of Thief's Have Infested the Neighboring Towns.
William Dunigan, Breman Cutler, John Dunigan and John Mess were arrested on the charge of larceny. On the examination of the prisoners, evidence was brought out implicating the Milliman Brothers. John, Jim and Myron of Loon Lake. They were arrested and taken to jail.
The first men arrested turned states evidence, naming John Milliman, the leader of the gang. John was charged with grand larceny, found guilty and sentenced to three years to Auburn prison.
Myron Milliman was sentenced to Buffalo work-house for seven months and fined $150. His brother Jim was fined $50 and four months in the same place.
The article ended saying: It is to be devoutly hoped that the bringing of the outlaws to justice will break up the gang which has for years been a terror to the law abiding citizens of this and neighboring counties.
Note: Through all this, Ada stayed true to John.